Friday 12th August 2016 6.45pm
Welsh National League Premier Division
Corwen 1 Cefn Albion 1 ht: 0-0 att: 85 Ent: free Prog: no Coffee £1
from War Memorial Park
A warm Friday night in August, what better way to spend it than indulging in some Clwb Pêl-droed action in the Principality? In fact this was the first game of the season (along with games at Chirk and Llay). Corwen was just 10 miles west of Llangollen, so a stop off at the beautiful Denbighshire town was a pre-match given. The Corn Mill, lying next to the whitewater section of Dee river that pounds its way under the main bridge in town, sold a number of real ales, and had a veranda out front overlooking the rock-strewn rapids. As beer gardens go, it takes some beating.
After the relaxing preamble it was deeper into Wales and the the small town of Corwen, the river Dee following the A5 all the way. Corwen has a population of just over 2,000, and has strong connections to Owain Glwyndwr, self-proclaimed Prince of Wales from 1400, who fought a rebellion against the English. He lived in nearby Glyndyfrdwy. The word Glwyndyr appears at lot round these parts (as in Glwyndyr Lex XI FC who play in Corwen’s league). The town is now linked to the Llangollen Railway.
Corwen FC go way back to 1877, when they played in the inaugural Welsh Cup, beating neighbours Bala, but losing heavily to Bangor. In recent history they’ve played at Cymru Alliance level in 1999/2000, but managed just one season. They also dropped Amateurs from their name in 2000.
The War Memorial Ground does a superb impression of Llangollen’s ground, certainly as far as backdrop goes. A huge green mound sits behind the ground, with a hilly side drop of woods, speckled sparsely with houses. It’s a charming peaceful setting. Like Llangollen also, is its smart large clubhouse as you enter the ground. Corwen has one stand, a skeletal framed, unadorned briezeblock and corrugated roof affair, behind a goal, with just 18 seats remaining of what used to be more. Looking at it close range it is like the maw of an older person who’s lost teeth through their life and left the holes.
As it shares its space with the cricket pitch, only three sides are railed with hard-standing, with the other a rope and grass.
The visitors of this first day of WNL action were newly promoted Cefn Albion. It was a competitive match, but not quite the classic I hoped for. As usual in this league of very high scoring games, I manage to pick out a two-er, and one of them in injury time. Cefn took the lead after about an hour, but Corwen pressed and pressed for the equaliser, which eventually came with almost the last header of the match. A throw-in was back headed into the area where another header looped the goalie, off the bar and just over the line. A cruel blow to the new boys but probably a fair result. Nice ground and setting for a bit of Friday night summer football.